Kent Trammell (theluthier)

402 replies · posted

[ENDED] BC4-1810 - October 2018 Class Homepage - Shading & Lighting with Blender

I published a collection of my light match .blend files, as was discussed during the class. You're welcome to reference those if you'd like. Also here's links to the reels shiennar put together:

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #4 (Oct 31, 2018): Class is officially over! Please check the closing post and don't forget to fill out the questionnaire 🙇🏻‍♂️

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #3 (Oct 9, 2018): Grades for week 1 homework are recorded. Feel free to keep an eye on this spreadsheet (BC4-1810 tab at the bottom) throughout the month. Please let me know if I miss anything!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #2 (Oct 3, 2018): 4 mighty Citizens have heeded the call to become Volunteer Assistants (VA's). They are: silentheart00, thecabbagedetective, csehz, and galledark. This means that between the 5 of us, there should always be a helpful presence both in this homepage thread and your individual homework threads throughout the month. Thank you VA's!

CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT #1 (Oct 1, 2018): Class is officially in session! Check the syllabus below for Week 1's focus and assignments. Begin watching the pre-recorded courses if you haven't already and I'll see you tomorrow at the first Live Event! 💡


Welcome to the CGCookie Class: Shading & Lighting with Blender! The art of shading and lighting your Blender scenes and models can make or break your renders. It's a very important - even enlightening - skill to develop as a 3D artist.

This "Class" format invites all Citizen members to focus together on a particular topic/skill for a month. Participation looks like this:

  • RSVP and attend the Live Events
  • Watch the pre-recorded education outlined below
  • Ask questions, answer other's questions
  • Submit homework by creating a unique forum thread to contain all your homework submissions for the month.
  • Generally be active in this homepage thread and other's homework threads.

WHEN? The class will take place from October 1st - Oct 30th.

✅  WEEK 1: Shading & Lighting Primer (Oct 1-7)

Abstract: There are some core concepts to lighting and shading (S&L) that need to be understood first. Things like global illumination, render engines, shaders, materials, and node networks some of the things we will be over-viewing this first week. I

Goal of the Week: Familiarize (or re-familiarize) ourselves with core S&L concepts.

Pre-recorded course to watch:

Week 1 Live Event (Remember to RSVP)


✅  WEEK 2: Vehicle Shading & Lighting with Eevee (Oct 8-14)

Abstract: The Eevee render engine is the latest and greatest rendering tech in Blender and we're going to stretch its legs for week 2. The subject is going to be a sports car, but any vehicle will do. After all many of us spent this past June modeling vehicles and we're eager to get them lit and pretty!

Some topics we'll cover along the way include materials like car paint, rubber, metal, and leather along with HDRI environment lighting.

Pre-recorded courses to watch:

  • Shading the Sci-Fi Helmet - While this course isn't a vehicle, the aspects taught are very relevant (metal, paint, wear and tear). The first two chapters are about texturing which you can skip. Chapter 3 is the important stuff for this class

Week 2 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Find a vehicle model, use one of your own, or download this vehicle modelThen light it and shade it with Blender 2.8 and Eevee in a manner that's meant to impress.[Post a screengrab/render to your BC4-1810 homework thread]
  • Lighting Match #1: This light matching exercise is based on this thread where the assignment is to find a 3D render we like and do our best to match it. Use your own model of anything, find one on, or use the same attached vehicle model. [Post a screengrab/render next to your chosen source render (post to your BC4-1810 homework thread)]

✅  WEEK 3: Lighting Characters with Blender (Oct 15-21)

Abstract: Character lighting is a very intentional art and how to do it well is often a mystery. This week we'll look at how to develop striking character renders, build simple materials that accentuate your model, and even the concept "painting" you character with light for surreal effects.

Pre-recorded courses to watch:

Week 3 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Find a character model (from sketchfab or blendswap), use one of your own, or download the this goblin characterThen light it and shade it in a manner that's meant to impress.[Post a screengrab/render to your BC4-1810 homework thread]
  • Lighting Match #2: Just like the week 2 light match but with a different source render for a new light setup to match. Repetition makes the exercise stick, plus it's just fun.

✅  WEEK 4: Shading & Lighting an Arch Viz Scene (Oct 22-28 )

Abstract: Arch viz rendering is often a coveted skillset among lighten enthusiasts. This week we're looking at lighting interior architecture for realism, featuring natural outdoor light from windows and artificial light from light fixtures. We'll also explore creating the necessary materials for our interior.

Pre-recorded course to watch:

Week 4 Live Event (Don't forget to RSVP)


  • Find an interior model (from sketchfab or blendswap), use one of your own if you've built one, or download this bathroom scene or this kitchen scene. Then light it and shade it a realistic manner. [Post a screengrab/render to your BC4-1810 homework thread]
  • Lighting Match #3: Just like the week 2 and 3, find a third source render to match its lighting.

✅ Class Wrap-Up Stream (October 30th)

We'll be doing a 5th live stream to review week 4 homework and close out the class.

This thread is reserved for CG Cookie Citizens that are participating in the "Shading & Lighting with Blender" class. Its purpose is to serve as central communication for all participating Citizens (excluding Hobby plan Citizens) to ask Kent and fellow participants questions and to post homework. As the instructor of the class, Kent will be monitoring this thread on a daily basis (especially Mon-Thurs) throughout the month of October to review homework and answer questions.

Free members are welcome to observe the thread but please respect that communication and participation is reserved for Citizens.

  • Came across this Blender 2.8 EEVEE interior room design Workshop from Texture Haven, using only their free textures. Might contain some good tips for week 4 so I thought let's share it with you guys! 😊  

  • Hi guys! I found myself in quite some trouble, I was trying to do a scratchy metal material, but I found out it behaves completely different in eevee and cycles. Take a look:


    Now the same material if I change the first Multiply node's value from 0.1 to 9.1: 

    I also noticed that I even if I made the exact car shader from the stream I would get a different size for the paint sparkles (I was using the same car model too).

    Is there something I can do from my side, or should I ignore it and continue with eevee?

    • jack07 Hi, I noticed in week 1 while working with eevee making scratches that the scaling is wayyy different than with Cycles. Had to change it from 10 to like 100 - 300 to get the same result. Maybe playing around with your texture scales will help?

      There were more people that had trouble with Kent's model. Couple of thing I read that helped others:

      • The scale of the model could be off, someone had a car of like 28 meters. Sizing it down to 3 - 5 meters solved their problems
      • Apply scale and location
      • Some people have the problem that shaders on the front bottom flap look different, recommended is duplicating the shader for that part and adjusting it so it fits

      Hope some of this helps!

    • ssmurfmier1985 Thanks, I fixed the scale and it fixed a few problems I had! :D

    • jack07 Awesome! Glad it worked 😊

  • General question: Does your pointiness value work in Eevee? Mine does not :(

  • Just want to show you the difference between both of my monitors ;p

    This is really not helping with LM exersice.

  • theluthier  i remember you told us in the stream if we would look for good lightning match example's (to try to match) you had a specific folder where you had stored several favorites you liked. could we get the link of it ?

  • Question: Is the lighting match homework also supose to be done in eevee, or can we use blender?

  • For Class BC4-1810. Will need to credit the artist, who made the Girl Bust Marluz_yaphets from blendswap and Dan Crossland for his lighting setup. 

    Also, was having one of those days where my brain had forgotten how to light a scene. lol 

    Is anyone doing inktober this year? I need to play catchup :D

  • Hi, can I already share homework for week 4 or I have to wait?

  • crew

    Grading homework submissions this week has inspired me! A lot of Eevee light matches and I had to try my hand at it because up till this point I've done all my light matches with Cycles. Here's my first Eevee light match (source from Bruno Ortolland, a Blender + Cycles render):

    I tried to go "all out" with Eevee to test its limits for competing with Cycles. It's got indirect lighting (GI), screenspace reflections, AO, and upgraded shadows. While I did feel my self bumping into Eevee's box a lot, overall I'm 90% happy with its ability in this situation. There's a lot of potential considering we will only get better at harnessing Eevee and the engine itself will only get better going forward!

    • theluthier I won't lie I'm a staunch ambassador of 2.79 but I had quite a lot of fun with Eevee this week, crashing and bugs notwithstanding. Admittedly you gotta put in extra work to make it look good but the level of customisation on offer is outstanding.

    • theluthier That looks awesome! Great showcase of Eevee's potential 😄

      Personally I had a lot of fun tweaking stuff in Eevee! also I find it much easier to use than Cycles, because you can see the realtime result. With Cycles I never get it exactly the way I want. 

    • Personally I had a lot of fun tweaking stuff in Eevee! also I find it much easier to use than Cycles, because you can see the realtime result. With Cycles I never get it exactly the way I want.  

      ssmurfmier1985 +1 I absolutely had the same feeling this week.

      In August just started the 2.8 version but did not try too many things, watched the tutorials and the work of others but that was all. 

      Finally maybe it was worth to wait till October as only once crashed, anyway it was very stable on the computer and really enjoyed Eevee, so much that I think will not go back to 2.79, maximum for using addons like RetopoFlow

  • My sound is not working.  Could you please add captions to the recording of the live stream?

  • theluthier I know YouTube has captions.  Could you please upload it to YouTube?

  • Question for what is baking used? Does it have one purpose or several? 

    • yyukinoh1989 Baking is used for cutting down on rendering calculations.  Where backing is mostly used is in game development to fake things, for example like lighting where calculating ray tracing in real time is very costly and will slow down the game to a crawl, so you save that information out into a map where now the engine just has to display a texture and not actually perform any calculations.  Or baking high resolution details to a low resolution mesh.  There are many types of baking.  More info.

    • silentheart00 so then if i would for example start retopology i can bake the hi resh model (using displacement ? i guess ? ) to then again make it look high res again ?
      so in fact baking is good for gaming or just image renderings but not specific when you ever plan to animate someting ?

    • yyukinoh1989 That's exactly what they do in gaming; make a high res mesh, retopo a low poly mesh, then bake the high res out into a normal map, not a displacement map because the displacement map will actually deform the geometry, so you need lots of geometry to get the details, which defeats the whole purpose.  A normal map is better because it saves out lighting information in the red, green, and blue channels to fake the lighting.  Here's a video.

      My focus is in game development, so I'm not sure about things outside that.  My best guess is if you're doing something film quality, it might be better to have high res models, textures, etc for more accurate lighting.  Games are a lot of faking and resource management whereas films are nothing but a sequence of images, so might as well make high quality images, right?  That's my best guess, though.

      For animation, you should absolutely retopo your mesh.  Beyond that, though, I don't know what's the best way to tackle the animation pipeline because I have no desire to be an animator.  Maybe take a look through the animation courses and see if any answers lie there.

    • yyukinoh1989 You can think of baking sort of like data compression.  You take a whole bunch of information from your scene(which requires a lot of computational power), and cache only the bits that are most important for you.  If you have ever used a site like, you can think of baking as a way of generating custom maps, often textures, though you can bake all kinds of things: lighting, simulations, animations, and surface information.  Of course once the info is compressed, it isn't as robust or flexible as before, so you have to determine where it fits best in your workflow.  That will vary from project to project, though there are some trends for different fields.  Games and real time simulations will bake almost all texture information, usually at least some lighting information, and particle effects.  For still renders and film, I don't know that anyone bakes their lights, but textures frequently get baked to cut geometric computation or to preserve details on animation friendly models. For characters specifically, baking maps like normals, ao, and curvature can go a long way for workflow efficiency even when computational power may not be much of a factor when all is said and done. Ultimately, it's about selectively storing information to improve efficiency, and managing the trade-off between acceptable input and acceptable output.

    • silentheart00
      thank you . it does indeed makes sense to go high res for animation . but i guess the animation course still needs to wait a bit. for now i try to focus on the class and the contest. trough in this case (for the pumpkin) i might need a normal map (still gonna have to watch a tutorial about baking normal maps since that still is new. But for now i first go retopology those pumpkins

    • pprocyonlotor Thank you . so in fact baking makes rendering a lot faster then ? also i once downloaded a texture but i wonder there where so many choices. how do i know what will be used where and what it does ? 

      in the one map i have these files are available
      AO (ambient occlusion )
      nor(is that the normal map then ? )
      somehow i wonder if i want to use or try them . how do i know where to plug them in and what nodes i should have to use . (that is still the biggest struggle for me ) figuring out what nodes i still need to make the good connections and where to plug them in to each other (what socket to connect to what socket)

    • yyukinoh1989 I'd suggest watching Blender Guru's PBR videos. Here is one: 

      This will give you a quick rundown on some of the basics.  The node editor will be something you just have to spend a lot of time with to learn, and even then you will run into folks doing all manner of foreign witchcraft in there, but the best way to learn is playing around and seeing what works.  Find tutorials as needed, and once you get your bearings, jump into the shader forge!!

    • yyukinoh1989 I would recommend only using normal maps for small details, not big ones.  If you use normal maps for large bumps or protrusions, then it will look very ugly.  (That's why the only computer game I play is Minecraft.)

    • yyukinoh1989 Also, there's this course that talks about how to use normal maps.

  • The CG Cookie forums have been really quiet these past couple of days... too quiet...

    I wonder what you all have got in store come Sunday? Looking forward to it!

  • Does someone know how to delete imported HDRIs from Blender 2.8? It's incredibly slow for me right now and I want to see if the amount of HDRIs I imported are the problem but I can't delete them. Deleting the folder and loading the Factory Settings didn't work, really frustrating.. 🙄

    • bbsdwerbeagentur If it's one you "installed" and you're on Windows, they're buried in the AppData folder for your user. Typically, the path is something like:

      C:\Users\(username)\AppData\roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.80\datafiles\studiolights\world

      AppData is usually a hidden folder, so if you don't see it, turn on hidden files. (Windows 10 has a checkbox under the View menu for the file browser. I think older versions of Windows, you had to go to a properties menu for the parent folder to unlock hidden files).

      Incidentally, the ones that come preinstalled in Windows follow the similar datafiles path in the directory where you extracted 2.8.

    • gradyp Thank you . it got fixed . blender runs a bit faster now . seems indeed the map was hidden (that was the reason i never finded it .) again thanx for the help :D

  • hello !

    where do u post homeworks ?

  • theluthier O grades, where art thou?

    probably just an oversight, but I don't think I ever got any comments or grades on my week 1 or my week 2 work (though my week 2 was in the favorites for my car).

  • HELP!!! My render turns red. I am using blender 2.8 for the character lighting homework. In remder mode, everything seems fine but when i render the whole image turns way more red.

    • aarev If you could share a screenshot of your scene and/or a file, that might be helpful to help solve the problem.

      You might take a look, in the mean time, on the color management tab and see if you have curves turned on and make sure that the red channel hasn't been accidentally turned up.

    • gradyp I dont have curves on so i have no clue whats causing it. I did find that filmic wasnt on, but turning it on diodnt help much. I am attempting another render with a slight change to the lamp setup, if it doesnt imporve i will leave ut for another time.

  • Could you please someone advise about the pro and contras regarding using texture coordinates instead of UVs? 

    Watching some tutorials where it is mentioned that then the model no need to be UV unwrapped, that would be a big plus. Although almost everyone has the UV unwrap workflow when using images for materials, so the texture coordinates presumably has some downsides 

    • csehz I think if you have a photorealistic texture which has to look the same as it would be photographed, like wooden floor planks, it's better to uv unwrap to make sure it sits perfectly right on the surface. Also if you want to paint your own textures uv unwrapping would be the way to go. 

      But for something like grunge/scratches/dents/etc you can use coordinates and box project, since you want variety with that. It's harder to place it exactly where you want but you can make sort of a mask with something like a noise texture. 

      In Cycles you can also use the pointiness value of the geometry node or the AO node to mask out edges / crevices, but in eevee that doesn't work (yet). I'm assuming you're using eevee since you also love it like me! 😀

      For my scene I'm working on I only unwrapped the floor and the wall, since that's just a plane. I'm not good with unwrapping yet, so for the rest I use texture coordinates and box project.

    • csehz I'd agree with what ssmurfmier1985 said. When it matters that a texture appear precisely in a spot, UV is best. For example, the clothes that I put the stripes on, for them to look correct, you have to use UV coordinates or they don't look right, particularly around where you would naturally see seams anyway. I have used stripes in Generated or Object texture coordinates, but in those cases, I'm often doing something more abstract and the placement and look is a bit different and can, in some cases, be harder to control the overall look. that's why for things like grunge, either works just fine.

    • ssmurfmier1985 , gradyp thanks a lot, briefly so texture coordinates can be used when the image is tileable and no need for specific precision, while the UVs are better in that.

      I'm assuming you're using eevee since you also love it like me! 😀

      Miranda yes absolutely! :-) Eevee is so much fun that all the shading and lighting changes immediately can be seen, anyway it is my only chance also to meet the deadline, since with Cycles it would be much harder to reach to the point of the final render on my oldie laptop. Okay maybe the final render would be anyway a little bit better still with Cycles, but the Eevee is already ideal for the travel till that. Or how to say :D

      Oops the dealine, 23:59 is here and did not post anything yet for Week3.. :D

    • csehz Eevee rocks! 😬

      You can also use non tilable textures with the texture coordinates. The 'box project' function on the image texture node projects it from many different angles instead of one angle, to make it look more random. Works great for grunge and scratches etc. You can up the blend value of the image texture node to make it less noticeable that it isn't tiled, that gets rid of the seams.

    • csehz 

      pro and contras regarding using texture coordinates instead of UVs

      Just try to unwrap dyntopo sculpt :D

    • nekronavt yes I know :-) 

      Is it also 01:35 AM your time? :D

    • csehz 2:37 :D  

  • theluthier  Sorry to make you struggle with my username each week.  You can pronounce it "Cah-thool-oo-san".  Inspired by Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu and chosen very late one night when I had to pick a username for my deviant art account.  

    Loving the class so far.  Learning tons and it has me in the software doing specific things and stretching my blender muscles.

  • Turning into the last week of the CG Cookie classes in 2018, let's increase the interest with some gamification and spicy statistics :D

    Who were the best students with the highest XPs gained in the particular classes?

    The answer is in the All-Star Hall of Fame:

    BC1-1801 - January Class - Katerina Novakova 190XP

    BC2-1803 - March Class - Matthew Ullrey 180XP

    BC3-1806 - June Class - Aaron Rudderham 178XP

    BC1-1808 - August Class - Miranda van Elst & Aaron Rudderham 195XP

    So who will be the best in the BC4-1810 - October Class? :-)

    • csehz Sadly... I've gotten no points this month. :( that I'm aware of.

    • gradyp Thanks that you reported the issue again, being aware that you mentioned already in this main thread. I just believed that Kent will perceive your comment, but you know it can be tricky to manage 50+ submissions this month which is record high. 

      The diagnosis seems that theluthier  Kent probably is going by the names on sheet 'BC4-1810 - October Class' in the report card and that is why not grading your weekly submissions, because your name was not added on the first week accidentally.

      So to help him I added your name now, presumably Tuesday he will continue the grading and the things will be corrected

      I am going to monitor this case, surely your work will be graded and the well deserved XPs got, no worries. Your work last week got even to the favourites of Kent so he remember you, just being not aware that the grades are missing.

      Anyway nice to see that already 52 members joined this month, great community have been raised up here by the classes in 2018 :-)

    • csehz Thanks, Zsolt. I think the first week, I got missed because my homework thread title wasn't quite formatted correctly, so was missed in the searches. And I did see my work in the video. Kent just never commented on my thread and I hadn't seen my name on the spreadsheet :D Glad all that's fixed now, esp since I have posted every week :D

    • crew

      csehz Thank you for adding Grady's name! I've no idea how he fell through the cracks each week, but I'm going to fix that today 🙇🏻‍♂️